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Courts - Canada - Abusive judge

National Post

May 4, 2004

Ex-judge pleads guilty to preying on troubled girls

B.C. Provincial Court
Bought Sex from youth who appeared in his courtroom

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. Former judge David William Ramsay whispered "guilty" five times yesterday, admitting he led a double life buying sex from girls as young as 12 and threatening them if they dared tell.

His wife sat grim-faced in B.C. Supreme Court, eyes glued to the court's scarlet carpet, while Ramsay stood in the prisoner's dock and acknowledged a series of facts that bespoke a tortured and repressed personality.

By day, Ramsay was a provincial court judge, handling everything from family affairs to the most serious crimes, and a seemingly upstanding citizen. By night, he preyed upon girls who had appeared before him.

If the poor, homeless girls complained, the tall, lanky Ramsay turned violent.

One 16-year-old had her head smashed off a dashboard, was raped and left abandoned bleeding in the middle of the night with the "decent, caring" Ramsay's taunts ringing in her ear. She still has nightmares about it.

Another said in 1993, when she was 12 years old, Ramsay paid her $80 for ?oral sex and a lay.?

?That judge is one of my johns," she remembered crowing to her mother during child-welfare proceedings in front of him.

Later, he picked her up and said she'd been "a bad girl." He then paid her $150 to "simulate aggressive sex," which included spanking her.

But he began to go too far and the girl was forced to bolt. He yelled as she fled: "Go ahead. Tell someone. No one will believe you. Once a whore, always a whore:'

The woman, who has turned her a life around and today is raising two children, says she cannot speak about the incident without pain and is haunted by it.

Along with Ramsay's other victims, she sat in the front row of the half-filled public gallery.

Until the unexpected change of plea, they were steeling themselves to relive ugly times each has tried to bury.

Special Crown prosecutor Dennis Murray said Ramsay's offences demanded between three and five years' imprisonment

"He was uniquely in a position to know the extent of the damage he could cause," Mr. Murray said.

Ramsay's lawyer, Leonard Doust said he would argue for a shorter prison term.
B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm will hear sentencing submissions on June 1.

Ramsay is free on $50,000 bail but under virtual house arrest while awaiting sentencing.

The agreed-upon-statement of facts, read to the court by Mr. Murray, unveiled a pattern of aberrant behaviour and misconduct by Ramsay.

He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault causing bodily harm to one girl, three counts of buying sex from three other girls under the age of 18 and one charge of breach of trust.

By court order, the women can be identified only by letters - A, J, H, and C. Stays of proceeding were entered 'on five related" charges.

Mr. Doust tried to minimize Ramsay's crimes as the "manifestation of a significant character flaw.?

He suggested Ramsay could not mount a full defence because of a faulty memory.

"He accepts responsibility;' the Vancouver lawyer told the court. "He cannot deny it."

Ramsay, who was appointed to the bench in 1991, received reports on these girls outlining their ages, their psychiatric histories, their troubled backgrounds ? the degree to which each was in crisis.

The girls all came from depressingly similar backgrounds - their parents were dysfunctional, violent and poor. They too were abused sexually and physically.

In the first case, "J" was a 16 year-old working the streets in late 1999 when Ramsay picked her up, drove her outside of town and offered her $150 for sex.

When she pulled out a condom, Ramsay became enraged because he was paying a premium. He grabbed the girl by the hair and smashed her head off the dashboard.

She struggled and managed to get out of the vehicle.

Ramsay followed, pinned her to the ground and raped her while calling her a "whore.'

He left her naked, weeping and drove off tossing her clothes out the window.

In early 2000, the girl entered rehab and cleaned up her life. As a result, she tried to regain custody of her son, who had been seized by the child welfare authorities because of her addiction and prostitution problems.

On May 28, 2002, when she appeared in court to regain custody of her son, the judge was Ramsay.

Although he granted the order, the young woman bolted from the room and broke down on the courthouse steps.

"How dare he smile at me and say how well I was doing after what he did to me,' she sobbed to social workers.

She told them what had happened and they pursued her allegations.

The investigation "snowballed" from there, Mr. Murray said.

Can West News Service
(The Vancouver Sun)

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